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Internship report: Sedef Topal

10 September 2015
Sedef Topal

I’m Sedef Asli Topal from Turkey. I graduated from Dokuz Eylul University this year. I studied in the department of International Relations. I’m really interested in current affairs, politics, history and philosophy. There are lots of related issues to these topics on which I plan to conduct comprehensive research. Therefore I aim to continue my postgraduate education to be an academician at a reputable university which could provide me with good opportunities to create research fields.

I think that to have a chance of doing detailed research in my field, I have got to apply for MA programmes abroad, because the language of science in whole world is recognised to be English. Consequently, I firstly needed to improve my skills in English.  Also I was looking for an internship programme which was relevant to International Relations to enhance my knowledge and experience in politics. The internship opportunity in the European Documentation Centre (EDC) of Cardiff University was ideally suited to my target.

The Cardiff EDC operates as a source of European expertise. This includes compiling an online data system called European Sources Online (ESO), which provides access to regularly updated information from the websites of the EU Institutions and many other sources. In addition, there are a lot of records consisting of current news about Europe and the member and candidate countries of the EU.

Interns generally work at both enquiry desk and office during the day. I was working in the office before noon and the enquiry desk in the afternoon. Our main tasks are checking the daily news, creating records from the reports of EU Institutions, updating previous records by following recent affairs in Europe and uploading them to ESO. In addition, there might be some translation work of presentations and information guides which have to be compiled or updated. I translated the English version of the major presentation ‘Europe on the Internet’ into Turkish and also the ESO Information Guide on Turkey. It was very beneficial for me to improve my English.

Before I came to the United Kingdom, I had never been abroad. I couldn’t have any opportunity to practice English in an English speaking country. I learned how to speak, write and read in English during my undergraduate education on account of the fact that the instruction of education of my faculty is in English. Due to the lack of experience and practice in English abroad, I was afraid of how I could get over the problems I would run into and how I could deal with the difficulties I would have. However, although I had many doubts before I started to live and work in Cardiff, they disappeared suddenly the first day I was in Cardiff EDC thanks to many positive comments I received.

Cardiff EDC has three main staff members: Ian Thomson, the Director, and Ceri and Fred – very helpful and thoughtful people. Most of the interns are from different parts of the world. I was working with a German intern whose name is Lisa and an Italian intern whose name is Beatrice. Both of them were really friendly and compatible to get along with. We became very good friends in the duration we were working together. To work with the people from the varied countries which have different cultures and traditions helped me have a broader perspective and become a more open minded person. Also, I’m feeling more self-confident now after I had the experience of living and working in a foreign country.

During my internship programme, I stayed in Cartwright Court which is one of Cardiff University’s student residences. Living in Cardiff is quite cheap in comparison to other cities in UK. In addition, Cardiff is a small, quiet and very lovely place to live like all of Wales. Wales also has a natural beauty that is absolutely worth seeing. I’m really glad to have been an intern at Cardiff EDC and really sad to leave here.